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Damaged Goods, Tron Theatre, Glasgow

When Martin McCardie's bruising, blistering tragicomedy of bigotry and sectarianism was first presented - at the Citizens' in 1993 - the situation in Northern Ireland weighed in heavily as a backdrop to the action.

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It gave young Michael's daft initiative - he kidnaps an English cadet in hopes that it will gain him entry into the IRA - a degree of menace, likelihood even. Now, of course, there's a peace process and the talk is of the IRA decommissioning their arms. So where does that leave Michael, with his dead grandfather's Republican dogma in his heart and mouth and the old man's ancient pistol in his hand? Well, if anything, it brings Michael and his passionate confusion closer to home. Back to the Scotland that is his birthplace, back to the battleground that is found in pubs and bus shelters, streets and schools, football matches and trains. Trains like the one I travelled on earlier this week where a monotonously foul-mouthed drunk cursed Celtic, the English, indeed anyone who didn't share his tunnel-vision of an ideal world. . . In Keith Warwick's Michael - a nervy wee skelf driven by inherited dreams and a sense of personal inadequacy - it's this home territory of religious schism and low-lying terrorism that has convinced him he's an outsider, an Irishman inadvertantly misplaced by birth. And it's his corrosive experience of being repeatedly beaten up that gradually connects him to Jeremy (Tommy Mullins), the Scouse cadet who, as a self-confessed loner, has been a target for bully-boys throughout his life. What hauls the play back to 1993 is The Woman (Julie Austin, a veritable banshee of scorn and outrage) who has been brutalised and driven out of her native Belfast by the very men Michael idealises. Her traumas are the reminder of where Ulster itself has been. The rest of this cracking wee play reminds us of where we still are.

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